The Gruen machine rolls on with plenty to talk about

The Gruen Planet panelist Todd Sampson.
The Gruen Planet panelist Todd Sampson. Contributed by ABC TV publicity website

THE world waited with bated breath for the birth of Prince George, but the royal baby will have to wait for the Federal Election.

Now that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called the election for September 7, the ABC's Gruen team has been hard at work on four special Gruen Nation episodes.

"We'll have an enormous amount of material with the swapping, the double knifing, boat people," regular panellist Todd Sampson told The Guide.

The show will then revert back to its regular Gruen Planet format for the rest of the series.

"The joy of Planet is we cover anything with spin, and in the media that's everything," he said.

"Nothing escapes the spin cycle."

So, what about that cute little royal baby?

"Maybe we should just do a comparison between the royal baby and Kanye and Kim's baby," Sampson mused.

"One of the things I really want to cover is the branding of bikie gangs and the expansion of those gangs all around the world. They're like cults of religious violence."

Gruen Nation - ABC1 - Wednesday at 8.30pm

Sampson is the CEO of the Australian arm of international ad agency Leo Burnett and became a household name thanks to his weekly sparring with Russel Howcroft on Gruen.

Almost equally well known are the quirky and clever T-shirts he wears on the show each week.

There's even a website dedicated to every T-shirt he's ever worn on TV, which Sampson assures The Guide he has nothing to do with and has never endorsed.

"I once wore a suit on the ABC and the ABC got complaints," he said.

"People thought it was the ABC forcing me to look smarter (laughs).

"That's how I dress at work. People think something is wrong if I wear a collared shirt."

But his casual attire hasn't been without controversy.

"The ABC was taken to court over my 'white people make me nervous' shirt," he said. "But if I'm going to be trapped in something, I'm happy to be trapped in a T-shirt."



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